Who is Wedu?
Wedu invests in high-potential young women from underprivileged backgrounds in South-East Asia to attend university, so they become changemakers in their communities.
Wedu is a registered UK Charity (No 1149494), founded in 2012 by Mario, Acumen Fund Fellow 2011 and Mari Sawai. We were proudly named Social Enterprise Startup of the Year 2012 at Cambridge University's Business Plan Competition. Made possible by a global team spanning three continents, we currently operate in Cambodia and Myanmar from our base in Bangkok, Thailand.
It all started... with encountering and pondering the following:
- Forbes lists that only 2.4% of the US Fortune 500 CEOs in 2010 were female.
- In places like Myanmar or Haiti, less than 5% of Members of Parliament are women.
- In some Developing Countries like Afghanistan, the ratio of girls to boys in university is a meager 1 to 5.
Despite research showing that female leadership creates a more democratic society and higher gross national income, this disparity persists. Now consider how many talented women do not have access to college every year. How many potential future leaders would be among them? Leaders that would have the courage, passion, and brains to change the world around them?
Think there’s something wrong with the system? Wedu.
Not only does attending university train critical minds for individual empowerment, it is also a life-changing experience to better the life of an individual as well as those in their communities.
There's more fabulous news: You can be part of all this! Not a superhero, not a queen, not a movie star. You.
JOIN US in nurturing the next generation of leaders – one student at a time!
What do Wedu?
Our mission is to offer every high-potential leader the opportunity to instill change in their communities through powerful visions of positive change.
1- Find students with leadership potential and inspiring mentors using our network of field partners.
• Empowering life-long mentorship: most programs focus on getting students through university. We believe that catalyzing the blossoming of an individual takes more than that! We are developing a lifelong mentoring community where each mentor has a role in a phase of the life of the future leader.
• Support to become a leader in business, government and civil society by providing leadership training and networking opportunities with remarkable individuals in the student’s field and country of interest.
• Better finance: Based on students future income potential we provide loans or enter into income sharing agreements which are:
o affordable for low interest rate, to minimize cost of capital,
o flexible, matching student’s cash flow,
o less risky, so student can focus on studies and leadership development. We match students’ risk profile with investors willing to bear that risk while investors can strike their balance between social and financial return.
And if the student is really great but can’t pay back we have also scholarships.
• Enhanced access: We partner with universities in emerging economies offering quality teaching at much lower cost than in OECD countries, guaranteeing high returns for graduates and minimizing brain drain.
• Administrative consulting: Assisting with university applications, entrance examinations, access to locally available scholarships and funding.
3- Incentivize students to return and give back by becoming mentors themselves and returning the funds received in our revolving fund to multiply impact while helping Wedu become sustainable.
We expect Wedu's students to become role models, a source of inspiration, and a pillar of our global support network for the generations to come.
Why do we need your contribution?
Because getting young women into university to install positive change in their communities requires some serious construction work. With $25,000 USD, we will build the critical infrastructure required to support young leaders in developing countries.
$10,000 USD for student loans
Student loans are a brand new concept in countries like Cambodia, with the power to unlock thousands of students' potential. This is why the biggest chunk of money will go to the audacious piloting of our student loan program. Up to 25 loans at $400 USD testing value will be provided through our partner Microfinance Insitutions in Cambodia. This equals the cost of one term for a master and one year of undergrad in Cambodia (vis-à-vis, e.g. an iPhone).
$7,500 USD for the mentorship program and platform
We believe that mentorship is critical to support the personal development of young individuals with leadership potential. Mentorship provides a role model, inspiration and also knowledge about opportunities to develop one's potential. This is why are developing an on-line platform to connect mentor and mentees from all over the world. By seeking partnerships with experienced mentors, we aim to offer the most enriching experience for both mentor and mentee.
$7,500 USD for an online fundraising platform
We would like you to be part of the Wedu-experience by offering financial and mentorship support to our students well beyond this campaign. This is why we are designing an online fundraising platform that offers Wedu's Education Angels (YOU!) a user-friendly, appealing, and efficient investment interface. Around 2x $3,000 USD will go into the fundraising engine and the portfolio interface. The remaining $1,500 USD are invested into mobile access design.
To reassure you that there is zero intention to squander your money, you may dial up the UK Charity Commission and inquire about Wedu, Charity No. 1149494:
+44 845 300 0218
They'll tell you what we are up to.
What's in it for You?
For any financial contribution, you'll get a fun and eccentric selection of perks, including: Immortality, Inspiration, Surprise, Involvement, PLUS the title of Associate Education Angel. Can you ask for more?
Other Ways You Can Help
Some of you might feel more comfortable contributing in immaterial ways. We do understand. There's a plethora of other ways to get involved with Wedu, and your involvement is just as fabulous as any material donation.
- Spread the word about your Wedu-Pride
- Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
- Share your thoughts on how to make Wedu even better
- Become a mentor for our students, or
- Volunteer with us！
Your smallest contribution matters - remember, the world is for you to change and this campaign for you to share. Thank You!
If still in doubt, meet Ly Chhay, our first student!
Mario and Mari met Ly Chhay on their first Wedu field trip to Cambodia. She comes from a village in rural Kampong Cham province. Thanks to Wedu, she is now a student at Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where she managed to secure a full scholarship for her first year. You can see Ly Chhay in the picture on the right hand side with Ruby, one of our great Talent Spotters, before boarding her first flight!
Ly Chhay's story is an inspiring example of a promising girl whose dream has become a reality. Here we share her original letter to Wedu -- for your eyes only:
"I have a diamond opportunity to know Wedu through Khmer Youth Association which I had volunteered during high school for over three years, leading a group of youth to work and assist the community development. [...] I believe in Wedu and I trust I can do it. Since I was young I have imagined of flying to study abroad and back with enough ability to change and help my country”.
[...] Wedu is my power mentor. Wedu helped me with my process of my application and my journey going abroad. [...] When I was 6 years old I did not have even rice to eat and I was a garbage collector. But, I have never given up. I struggled with all these things step by step. Once I am accepted to university I was very excited and I relaxed for five minutes before telling my parents, they were happier and put their arms around me and say they are lucky to be my parents. That was a very beautiful day in my life. They cannot speak English, but they told me to thanks in advance for Wedu that help supporting me, because they have never thought that one of their daughters can fly to study abroad, as I am now."
Be inspired by the story of Ly Chhay and join us on our journey towards developing local changemakers. THANK YOU.
Questions/Suggestions? Reach out to the team on indiegogo(at)wedufund.org. We are happy to hear your feedback!